Audio Class With Professor Hoffman:

Lesson 2: Remixing

Why doesnít DCC use the new stereo versions of things like Pet Sounds? In fact, since you sometimes get original multi-tracks, why donít you remix them to make things sound better?

I hear all the time, ''Well, Pet Sounds is great, but it's in mono, why don't you use a stereo mix?' No. Brian Wilson was standing there, that's the one (the mono mix) they chose at the time, it was exciting, they were all there,..that 'karma' was on it. That's the real mix. A friend of mine at MCA once told me that anyone who remixes a classic record ought to be shot, and I said, "no, listen to how much louder I can make the drums on this Mama's & Papa's song!" And she rightly argued that the karma of the original mix, no matter how crappy it sounds, is the original mix. Anything else is just jerkin' off. And she's right! Thank you Diana!

If you find yourself in a situation where you must remix, do you have any suggestions?

My rules for doing a good remix:

1. Do not use any, and I mean ANY equipment manufactured later than 1967.

2. Do not play God by:

Attempting to change vocal perspective, or orchestra balance for a more modern sound.

If you need to add echo (and you live in LA), swing over to the Capitol Tower and BORROW some by dialing one of the chambers in. So it costs 100 bucks, big deal.

Make sure the vocal track is clearly louder than the orchestra. Never bury the vocal in the mix. It's not how they did it back then.

Do not "tweak" the vocal track, (you know what I mean, Carole)!

Do not do your final mix late at night after working on it all day. WAIT until the morning.

Do not mix at a loud volume. The BEST volume to mix a vocal from the old days? Have someone stand by your speakers and sing something in a natural voice. Now, match the volume of the vocal on your tape to that human voice. Keep it at that level!

That good enough for now. I'm giving away far too much...